Wow, two years.
24 months, 104 weeks, 730 days, 17,520 hours, 1,051,200 minutes.
No matter how I break it down, it still comes as a shock. Where has the time gone? Does life really fly by us at such a neck-breaking speed (pun intended) that one day you wake up thinking, “but yesterday I was just a kid!” That’s how I feel in general, but more so on my anniversary. In one sense, my paralysis is still so new. I continue to learn new things about my spinal cord injury, how to adapt things for my basic independence, ways to use what I have to compensate for what I lack (especially the lack of finger movement), and how to distinguish signals of my body reacting differently because of the injury.
It seems everyday I learn something new; whether it is positive, like finding a new way to do something I couldn’t or a negative, by discovering a physical limitation. When I find something I can’t do, I have to try and find a way to overcome it, and that is not always easily done. So you can imagine how everyday has its up and downs. And I never know what to expect, whether it’ll be a good day or bad, especially with my body; a body confused by the missing and mixed signals that my injury caused. I have a new sense of normalcy yet everyday is different. Does that make any sense?
I have always tried to handle my obstacles with grace, strength, and dignity, but everyone gets frustrated and eventually reaches their breaking point. This has been my scenario the past few weeks. A combination of being sick, sad to be home from Shepherd, and my anniversary, was too much for me to handle emotionally. Now, however, it is time to put my broken pieces back together and continue to roll forward into regaining my independent life back. There is no other option for me.
Two years is kind of a “big anniversary” because it is widely believed that by two years, you will have regained as much function as your body will allow. Is this a 100% fact? Absolutely not. Christopher Reeve regained function up to seven years after his injury. So is there a chance for more recovery? Definitely. And I believe that as long as I keep the faith and work EXTREMELY hard, I can improve more than ever anticipated.
I still have so much to learn; about myself, my injury, my body, my relationships, and my future. But one thing I have learned in the last two years is to take life day by day because, ultimately, there is no promise of tomorrow (and no going back to yesterday). To put it best, I want to quote Lindsay Miller, a local girl and an angel called home at such a young age, 19, in 2004. Before her untimely passing, Lindsay said, “Life is more than you can imagine so take each step with bounding leaps and each day with a cup of faith: all the while remembering that today you are only promised yesterday.”
This is a constant reminder for myself because I have a tendency to focus too far on approaching anxieties that I have no control of. By the end of the day, I realize my time was wasted by letting myself be consumed by my uncontrollable circumstances. That’s not how life is meant to be lived for anybody. This injury has taught me life is too short to be ANYTHING but happy.
Of course, we all have and are entitled to bad days. Everyone experiences their own trials and tribulations, but don’t let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life. As I confessed in my last entry, I have been having a rough time; I have been faced with big decisions that only I can make and the pressure was overwhelming. I have been doing research, talking to other people with the same issues, talking to doctors and debating the pros and cons; but in the end, the decision is mine. And I’ll be honest, I feel like if there is a SLIGHT chance for something to go wrong, it happens to me. Even with no chances to go wrong, I apparently like to defy the odds.
Don’t get me wrong, I am an optimist, but it just seems like I have had so many setbacks, I’ve come to expect them. What do they say… If I didn’t have bad luck, I wouldn’t have any? I know I am blessed with so much, but the recurring roadblocks I’ve encountered in the last two years have seriously delayed my progress as well as created a mental stigma that I will always come across conflict in regards to my recovery. I have learn to hope for the best but expect the worst. I also have a terrible tendency to over analyze everything. It is a deadly cocktail when mixed with my other terrible tendency to be so fickle. Needless to say, decision making has never been my forté
Regardless, a decision had to be made and it could only be done by me. So I’ll be having an outpatient bladder surgery next week. I know this will temporarily give me the independence I seek, at least until after the new year when I will consult about trying to have the major bladder surgery (called Mitrofanoff) that requires a longer period of recovery. The Mitrofanoff is the same ‘suddenly cancelled’ surgery that occurred this past January. I pray that I am making the right decision for me and that I have no complications or infections and that I heal quickly. This will not only give me more independence, but it will also hopefully significantly decrease the amount of bladder infections I’m experiencing.
There are more serious and important decisions to be made in my near future, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. Life is too short to write a book in a day.
On a final note, I am just overwhelmed at the love, support, encouragement, and prayers from everyone that I’ve come across in the last two years. Thank you God for a second chance at life, one that I’ve learned to appreciate and treasure more than ever before. May my experience please educate or impact someone else as a lesson to live your life to the fullest, love with all your heart, learn to appreciate what you have, work hard for the things you want, and truly count your blessings. My blessings are overwhelmingly abundant and for that I’m eternally grateful.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou